Sunday, 8 December 2013

UNICEF Innovation: Innovate for children

UNICEF has always been committed to innovative programming to reach children and young people all over the world, whether they are in remote areas or fragile situations, to protect and advance their rights in society. Innovations are a cornerstone of the organization’s work - whether it was the first midwifery kit developed in the 1950s to help women in developing countries give birth in safer conditions; the Oral Rehydration Salts for children with Diarrhoea; the World Summit for Children in the 90s or the Rapid SMS platforms in recent years; UNICEF through innovation has created new ideas and solutions for children.

Building on this legacy, UNICEF has been developing an ambitious network of Innovation Labs, recognizing that to provide solutions that are quick, viable and sustainable, there must be a thorough understanding of the complexities, challenges and opportunities that exist at the grassroots level. By involving the local community and building collaborative networks within the country, UNICEF aims to help and support the local adaptation and use of new technologies and approaches to identify and solve problems and provide solutions.

UNICEF Innovation Labs are dispersed all over the world. They are physical spaces that allow for collaboration between young people and private sector, academia, technology specialists and civil society. In countries like Kosovo, Burundi, India and Uganda, the Labs have become spaces that enhance and encourage youth participation and involvement in the life of their society. UNICEF Indonesia is now starting an Innovation Lab in the Jakarta Office. It will apply the Lab principles, processes, and protocols to provide a space for innovative ideas to be conceived, created, tried out and tested - both technical and otherwise - to generate creative solutions that can improve the lives of children and young people in the country.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Ending Violence in School - Positive Discipline training in Papua

By Devi Asmarani

A teacher supporting a student with learning in a classroom in Jayapura, Indonesia. A year after starting the Positive Discipline programme, the atmosphere in the classroom has changed completely. Students are not afraid of their teachers anymore. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Esteve.

Fifth-grade teacher Darius Naki Sogho has been a teacher for 24 years, and for most of those years, he taught with an iron fist—and a rattan rod.

“I used to hit my students when I thought they were being bad, or when they weren’t paying attention,” he says.

Over the last year, however, Mr. Naki Sogho has been learning to contain his anger in class and to teach in a way that neither hurts nor intimidates his students.

He did this by applying the Positive Discipline approach, a method that he and a select group of teachers in the Indonesia province of Papua have been trained to adopt as part of a joint programme managed by UNICEF and the local government that aims to put an end to corporal punishment and other forms of violent behaviour in the classroom.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Field Blog from Tacloban - A little girl in a white dress

Toys left in the rubble in the city of Tacloban, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

By Kent Page, Senior Advisor Strategic Communications, UNICEF Philippines

It's Sunday in Tacloban. Two days ago, while working with journalists on the ground, we visited one of the hardest hit barangays (neighborhoods) of the city. It's a coastal barangay where thousands of people lived in somewhat of a shanty-town, about 200 meters from the ocean's edge.

Their shanty town does not exist anymore. It bore the full force and fury of super typhoon Haiyan. There's literally nothing left as homes were wiped out and literally washed away by the typhoon, storm surge and gale force winds.

All that remains are the remnants of everyday items we all have in our homes - not in huge piles of debris as seen throughout the city, but random items strewn about haphazardly. A doll here, a tshirt there, a TV remote on the side, a small family photo album over there.

As we were wrapping up our work, I decided to take a walk-around and about 75 meters away came upon two bodies. One appeared to be a young man, and the other was a little girl in a white dress, about six years of age.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Indonesia launches #ENDviolence against children

By Michael Klaus

Edi Suharto (left), Director of Child Social Welfare at the Ministry of Social Affairs calling the national child helpline TeSA 129 to learn about the kind of issues that are usually reported by children, with the Deputy Minister for Child Protection, Waju Hartomo, UNICEF Indonesia National Ambassador Ferry Salim and UNICEF Deputy Representative Marc Lucet listening. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Dionisio.

JAKARTA, 20 November 2013 – On World Children’s Day, Indonesia joined the global initiative #ENDviolence against Children.

“Let’s be clear: The launch of the campaign today is only the beginning of a long process. We have been able to form a strong alliance to raise awareness about the impact of violence on children and to strengthen prevention and response systems. Over the coming months, we will work hard to get many more partners on board,” said UNICEF Indonesia Deputy Representative Marc Lucet during the event that was organized together with the Ministries of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Social Affairs, and Communication and Information as well as the Commission on Child Protection.

So far, Indonesia – a nation of almost 240 million people with a third of them being younger than 18 years - has no national data on violence against children. The Government with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF is undertaking a national survey on the prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual violence against boys and girls in 25 of the 33 provinces. Results and recommendations will be published next year.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Liam Neeson says help us make violence against children disappear

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson raises his voice in support of a new UNICEF initiative to prevent violence against children. 

For more information on how you can help #ENDviolence against children, visit:

Monday, 18 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan: Jhana and Gwendolyn's story

Jhana with her UNICEF hygiene kit in Tacloban
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/Kent Page

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Tacloban has become a makeshift home for 300 families whose homes were wiped out by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Among them is 20-year old Jhana, a proud new mother of a very special daughter, Gwendolyn.

Gwendolyn was born just one week before Haiyan struck. "The typhoon washed away our home" says Jhana , as she breast feeds Gwendolyn amongst the hundreds of others sheltered amongst the church pews. "But she is my angel and I will do everything to make her life beautiful."

Friday, 15 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan diary: Mud and ruin in Tacloban

By Nonoy Fajardo, Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Specialist

A boy displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in the city of Tacloban, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem 

I have been working on emergencies for more than 15 years now, and I seriously thought I had seen it all. But flying into Tacloban on Monday as part of a UN assessment team, I was in for a shock. As the plane taxied along the bare runway, I could see mud and ruin – only mud and ruin – where once there had been trees and buildings and all the normal signs of life.

Yes there was still a tarmac runway, but that was all that was there: a runway. Everything that had once been inside the terminal buildings was now outside, and what had been outside was now inside, even including a flight of stairs. We were told to avoid parts of the ruined buildings because there were still bodies in the rubble, where airport employees had sought refuge.

Typhoon Haiyan diary: Aid is getting through

By Christopher de Bono (Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific)

A child displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in an evacuation centre in Tacloban
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

It’s day four since Typhoon Haiyan hit, and the good news is aid is getting through. And I’m proud to say that UNICEF’s water and sanitation supplies – the aid category that we are leading on – are now in Tacloban, where they will help us avoid the much-feared outbreaks of typhus and cholera. Other agencies are leading on food, shelter and medicine.

The bad news is that not enough is getting through. Despite the amazing, tireless efforts of the Philippines Government and army, and all my colleagues in the aid community, we are still not reaching everyone in dire need.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan diary: "There is nowhere to go"

Written by Chris de Bono

A mother carries her daughter as they walk in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

I just got off the phone with Leon Dominador Fajardo, or 'Nonoy' for short, a UNICEF Emergency Specialist in Tacloban City. He is a thorough professional – an old hand who has seen disasters and devastation before, but there was a quiver in his voice. “People, families with children are walking along the ruined roads,” he said. “I don’t know where they are going – there is nowhere to go. They are walking because their homes are gone and they have nowhere to go.”

It had taken him a hour to get out of the airport because of the debris. Some other colleagues had been stuck in the airport overnight. The roads are almost impassible in the pitch black night and the risk of accidents is very real – to drivers and passengers but more importantly to people camping on the street.

#DayofTheGirl; When a Little Girl Speaks about Happiness

Ramonah singing on a MetroMini bus.

October 11th is the Day of the Girl. Time for the girls declare what they want, to tell the world about the girls’ rights and to prove that they are able to do whatever they want in a good way and care. On that day, all the girls are expecting justice and happiness. Just like Ramonah 8 years old, a street singer. At that time, during the day in the South Jakarta. I was on the way to return home. On the bus, I saw a girl singing to entertain the passengers and find money. Because I am interested in her life, I followed her out of the bus and asked her to have lunch with me. Here's a little conversation between us.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Bridging the gap: nutrition in Indonesia

By Bohdana Szydlik, UNICEF Australia

UNICEF Australia Communication Officer Bohdana Szydlik standing in front of a local rice field.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Szydlik.

Each morning I cross a bridge where a mother and her small child sit. The child sleeps, the mother shakes a container to collect small change, and together they wait for time to pass. Just down the road is a marble-floored shopping mall, with the types of high-end stores you might see on the Champs-Elysées: Gucci, Topshop, Audi.

Since the fall of president Suharto 15 years ago, Indonesia has become one of the largest economies in South East Asia. Yet much of Indonesia's wealth remains in the hands of a privileged few, with 50 per cent of the population still living on less than US $1.75 a day.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The story of little Neni

By Dorian Druelle, UNICEF France

Neni (center) is smiling with her classmates as she is now no longer suffering from diarrhoeal symptoms.
©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Druelle 

Neni is a 10 years old Indonesian girl, but she has the size of a 7 or 8 years old child. Her fragile body bears the mark of stunting, a manifestation of chronic malnutrition which affects more than half of all children under five years of age in the region where she lives and more than a third in all children in Indonesia. She will probably wear the effects of stunting all her life, but her bright smile and sparkling eyes seem anticorrelated to her underweight; Neni is a shining child.

Monday, 16 September 2013

More children than ever before are surviving past their fifth birthday

Saving children’s lives will benefit entire societies 

By Angela Kearney, UNICEF Representative Indonesia

The opportunity to end preventable child deaths has never been greater than it is today.

Thanks to proven solutions and global and national efforts, the lives of 90 million children were saved globally in the past 22 years; children who would otherwise have died if mortality rates had remained at the same levels as in 1990.

Half as many children died in 2012 than in 1990, with the annual number of under-five deaths falling from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

In Indonesia, we have also witnessed remarkable progress. While in 1990, as many as 385,000 under-five children died, today, the number has fallen to 152,000. As we take a moment to savour this good news, we must also take stock and remember that we are failing the more than 400 children in Indonesia who still die needlessly every day. And we also need to be aware that although the overall reduction in child deaths is impressive, recent data show that this decline has been slowing down over the past 5 to 10 years. If the current trajectory continues, the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015 remains at risk.

Monday, 9 September 2013

SMS project improves midwives’ counseling competencies in Indonesia

The first Info Bidan Message broadcasted to the midwives which explains about the risks of not doing birth spacing. Lombok, 18 July 2012.

Jakarta, September 2013 - Midwives are at the forefront of health care in Indonesia and they play a critical role in communicating key messages on safe pregnancy, delivery and child health to pregnant women and their families. Many midwives however, especially in rural and remote areas, are inadequately trained and lack the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide quality counseling.

Through an SMS-based pilot project called Info Bidan (Information for Midwives) UNICEF engaged in innovative ways of strengthening the capacities of midwives in rural areas. The results have been positive and UNICEF is now in discussion with the Ministry of Health and other partners on how best to introduce the model as a training tool for all 100,000 midwives in Indonesia.

Friday, 23 August 2013

UNICEF Indonesia and faith-based organization NU join forces to reduce stunting

UNICEF Indonesia Representative Angela Kearney and K.H Said Aqil Siradj, Chairman of NU
Jakarta, Indonesia, August 2013 – UNICEF Indonesia has signed a partnership agreement with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organisation in the country to further enhance its efforts to improve the nutritional status of children and to reduce the high prevalence of stunting.

The collaboration will focus on addressing stunting through strengthening the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme or PKH. This model is currently being piloted in two districts: Brebes in Central Java and Sikka in East Nusa Tenggara through a programme called PKH Prestasi.

For UNICEF Indonesia, this is the first formal partnership with a faith-based organisation. With an estimated number of followers of more than 50 million people, Nahdlatul Ulama is one of the largest Muslim organizations in the world. Around 60% of the population in Brebes are members of NU and the organization has enormous clout in the district. NU has affiliations in most major Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) across Indonesia, including in Brebes. NU also funds hospitals and schools, both religious and secular.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Ready to go back to school

By Nuraini Razak, UNICEF Indonesia

All that 11-year-old Dani wants is to go
back to school and play with his friends.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Rizal
Bener Meriah – Fitra Ramadhani, or Dani as his friends call him is a cheerful 11 year-old boy who went to a local school in his village.  About to start the sixth grade, he likes to play soccer with his school friends. His village Cekal Baru was badly affected by the recent earthquake.

Dani’s father is a coffee farmer who has three children and another three other family members to take care of. His family had just barely recovered from losing his grandmother, and now the earthquake hit them.

In Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah district, more than 372 schools have been badly damaged. The local students are anxious about their return to school, with the new school year due to start next week.

Dani's school was a quick walk from his home, but now he does not know where to go. His classroom has been destroyed.

He now spends his days at UNICEF’s temporary learning centre. His desires are modest, "Our house had been damaged, and sometimes I still think about the earthquake, but all I really want to do is to go back to school and play with my friends," he said.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

After the earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia – Putting a smile on children’s faces through learning and playing

Yusniate engages her daughter Liana
with a puzzle game inside UNICEF's
temporary learning centre.
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2013 / Juanda
BENER MERIAH, Indonesia, 9 July 2013 - "It was like kiamat, doomsday," – that’s how Yusniati (25), a coffee farmer from Serempah, Ketol, recalls what happened on 2 July when a powerful earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale ravaged villages in Bener Meriah and Aceh Tengah district in Indonesia. The quake in the province of Aceh left 39 people dead and more than 2,400 people injured.  "We were in the plantation, and we could feel the earth moving up and down.  The sound was incredibly loud," she says.

About 50,000 people from more than 12,000 households in over 70 different locations in the two districts have left their homes.  This includes families whose houses have not been damaged but who still prefer to camp outside, in fear of aftershocks.  Around one third of those affected are children, younger than 18 years of age.

“After what felt like 5 minutes of shaking, I saw friends and neighbours running around.  We saw some people trapped and crying for help.  Many people were bleeding, but we helped each other and finally we managed to move to an open space.  We were shocked and confused, and we still are," Yusniati adds.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Markus and his honai – The rough road to secondary education in Papua province

By Michael Klaus, UNICEF Indonesia

Markus left his village at the age of 14
to enroll in secondary school.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Klaus
Megapura in Papua Province, Indonesia, July 2013 – It has been four years that Markus last saw his parents, and it will at least be another one until he may be able to go back home again to his village Kalbok - a 10-day walk away in the highlands of Papua province. The 18 year old is in 12th grade and he knows he would not be in school today had he stayed home. 

Markus has grown a lot during these four years, and he now is the leader of his honai in Megapura, a big traditional hut that serves as a boarding home for 50 adolescents and young adults. They all visit either a secondary school or a professional training institution in nearby Wamena, in the heart of Papua province in Indonesia’s Far East.

“The Highland districts in Papua have the worst child indicators of the whole country,” explains Margaret Sheehan, Chief of the UNICEF Field Office that covers both Papua and West Papua. More than 120 out of every 1,000 children die in their first five years of life, more than three times the national average. Only a third of the population has access to safe water and less than one in four can use a latrine.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How a volunteer is preventing violence against children at school in Central Java

Erry in one of his group discussion
sessions on violence prevention.
© UNICEF Indonesia/2012.
Preventing violence in schools is complicated and takes a strong vision, specialist knowledge, experience and patience.  UNICEF cannot do this alone and therefore works with the government and local non-government partners (NGOs). An army of volunteers is also playing a hugely important  role.

A fabulous example of this is Erry Pratama Putra – a man of 37 years from Klaten in Central Java, Indonesia. He first became involved with UNICEF six years ago, when he volunteered during the emergency response after the earthquake in Yogyakarta and Klaten.

“It is our responsibility to ensure children are fully protected from all forms of violence, whether at home, in school or in the community. I don’t have anything to offer except my heart, my soul, my mind, my spirit and my idealism to create a decent world for children as their future is entrusted to us today.”

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

It’s about abilities – UNICEF Indonesia launched the State of the World’s Children report 2013 on children with disabilities

Joining forces with gold medal winners at the Special Olympics and key activists for the rights of people with disabilities, UNICEF Indonesia launched this year’s State of the World’s Children report, together with the Minister of Social Affairs and other government counterparts on May 30th 2013.

“When talking about children with special needs, we often rather think about what they are NOT able to do, rather than looking at what they actually CAN contribute to society,” said UNICEF Representative Angela Kearney during the event at the disability-friendly Ministry building in downtown Jakarta. “This needs to change. Like in many other countries, children with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and invisible children in Indonesia. Often parents simply hide them away, because they are ashamed or they don’t know how best to support them.”

Angela Kearney with Special Olympics gold medalists, Adi (left) and Stephanie (right)
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2013 / Klavert

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Oral Rehydration Salts and Zinc: Simple but big solution to save children’s lives.

Veronica became very weak
as dehydration set in
©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Rob Patmore
It was early morning in the town of Tambolaka on the Indonesian island of Sumba when Teresia and her husband rushed their daughter for treatment. Veronica was very weak and in need of lots of fluids. When she started vomiting and having loose stools, an Angkot (mini bus) driver immediately took them to sought help at the local hospital.

Veronica is a 1.5 year old girl, who became weak with every passing hour as the diarrhea continued and dehydration set in. Her mother Teresia watched, tenderly pressing Veronica close to her, hoping to somehow save her daughter’s life.

“We were very scared and worried,” says Teresia. “We have heard that children can die from just diarrhoea,” she adds while looking at her daughter. One of the health workers arrived with a small sachet of oral rehydration salts. She was also given Zinc tablet diluted in a teaspoon of water, which will help her fight a potentially deadly case of diarrhoea.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Malaria, a mother's greatest fear

6-year-old Eta and her mother Deborah
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2013 / Rob Patmore
There is no worse feeling for a mother than to think that her child might die.Yet, in Sumba, one of Indonesia’s islands in East Nusa Tenggara, too many mothers have watched their children dying from malaria. Malaria is infected through mosquito bites which are endemic in the island.

Deborah knows too well about this feeling. Her daughter, Eta, had such a high fever one night that she was shaking. “I thought she was going to die,” Deborah recalled how horrible she felt that night.

Eta was taken to the nearest health centre where her blood was tested. It was confirmed that she caught malaria. And it was one of the worst kinds.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Being malaria-free will also benefit the tourism industry

I have really understood the issues related to malaria, says Mr. Thamrin Wata, the Culture and Tourism Officer of South Sulawesi province in Indonesia. “It is very important for my work to know about this disease, because it is crucial for us to protect our tourist destinations from malaria to make them more attractive for travellers. Before I joined this malaria working group, I thought that tourism is only related to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infections. But now I have realized that malaria plays also a role.

A baby sleeps under a bed net in Selayar district
© UNICEF Indonesia / 2012 / Asri
Mr Thamrin Wata has been working in the Tourism Office of South Sulawesi province since 1990. During all this time, he never received clear information about malaria and so he did not consider malaria a serious disease one needs to be scared of.

In October 2012, Mr. Thamrin Wata attended a workshop about malaria in Makassar sponsored by UNICEF in collaboration with the Provincial Health Office South Sulawesi. In this workshop he learned that malaria is a dangerous disease, especially in children and pregnant women, if not correctly managed by health workers. It is also a problem for holiday destinations, because tourists, especially foreigners, are scared of malaria infections and prefer to travel to areas that are free from malaria. As this directly relates to his work for the Tourism Office of South Sulawesi, Mr. Thamrin Wata decided to become a member of the malaria working group.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A visionary, a farmer - and a healthy village: how Galung put an end to open defecation

Despite is location just 17 kilometres from the district capital, Galung is an under-developed village in Kecamatan Barru, in the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi. 

Simple family latrine built in Galung Village
© UNICEF Indonesia / Gerber
140 families out of a total 484 households in the village haven’t had access to proper latrines for some time, although efforts have been made to promote better hygiene in the village. However, demand for proper sanitation has been high, frustrated mainly by low incomes prevention the construction of latrines. Despite that challenge, Galung has just been declared the first village in the district to be “open-defecation free” – meaning no families go to the toilet in the open.

This success has been determined by the fact that the village head has great interest in sanitation, and there is a creative local entrepreneur/village artisan who has been able to build cheap latrines. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

The dark of day: life in a Jakarta urban slum

In the mornings, Neng helps her mum on the family food stall
© UNICEF/Indonesia 2012/Andy Brown
Neng is fourteen years old. She lives and works on Venus Alley, a lane in the notorious Jembatan Besi slum in Jakarta, Indonesia. Unlike other children her age, she rarely gets to see the sun. The slum is one of the most densely populated in Indonesia, rising to four stories in places. The ground floor homes are reasonably well constructed but as they ascend, they become increasingly makeshift, with walls and floors made from wood and scrap metal.